Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Training 2

I may or may not make Tuesday Training a Margeblog tradition, but since it works again for this week, I may as well go with it for now.

Well, Marge's fear issues really are through the roof. I have been avoiding walking on the streets and instead have gone back to only walking in the field, but it seems that isn't enough. When it is relatively quiet out, she's fine. It seems the best times are late morning and early/mid afternoon. Night would be best, except for the fireworks, which have not stopped. We had a great, long walk on Sunday, where Marge passed many people in the field successfully, and ended sniffing the bushes adjacent to the playground.

The walk later that night, however, was distastrous. It started out well, with Marge playing with me, running around, etc, until a firework went off. Seriously, people.. it is July 21st. Can we stop with the fireworks? She never calmed down, freaked out when she saw any person or any dog going by, and that was it for the night.

Yesterday, she was stressed out on our morning walk to some degree. We had an okay afternoon walk, but it was hot and I didn't want to push it. We then went back out after dinner time.. some loud noise came, and I'd say she recovered about halfway before we went home. Knowing better, I skipped walking at night, because of all the fireworks, but I did take her back into the field quickly before it got dark, where I surprised her with a new squeaky toy and she played for a couple of minutes.

Today, our first walk was not good. It's raining, so I figured hey, why not go out. We walked up the block, but she heard a kid screaming and bouncing a basketball and his dog barking, all the while passing some old lady getting out of her car, so then the walk was kaput. We continued on, Marge pulling like a freight train, freaked out by the mailwoman who she has seen countless times before, didn't like the sound of the mailbox, and finished off by peeing on someones bushes. She seemed to end slightly better than full panic mode, and I took her across into Miller Field to diffuse a bit before going home.

I really don't know what to do. The noise phobia is one thing - she has always had them, and this summer has been particularly noisy, with fireworks, thunderstorms and construction that we just can't escape from. However, it is really bothering me that the fear has generalized to running away from neutral people and getting scared when she sees dogs. She saw a Doberman way off in the distance and she started to have that wide-eyed look. She saw a Boston off in the distance and wanted to flee. She saw a Chihuahua who, granted, was barking, and that REALLY scared her.

All I hope, right now, is that this isn't going to trickle down into our Agility class. She needs Agility. I hate to sound selfish, but I need it too. I need to have that one hour a week where Marge can just totally let go and enjoy herself.

I've ordered Control Unleashed, and it should be coming this week. I guess I'm going to give the vet a call tomorrow. I would like to get a blood test done on her.. several people have suggested to me that there could be an underlying medical issue. I would be willing to start a drug treatment plan, perhaps for a month or two, and then wean her off and re-evaluate her. If nothing works, it may be time for a behaviorist.. which REALLY scares me, because I don't really have the money for several hundred dollar consultations.

I've pretty much given up on the August 23 Rally trial. I don't need to go with her, only to have her totally terrified and not having fun. If things improve from now until then, it is a possibility, but most likely the door is closed on that one. I did find out that we have another NADAC trial coming up on October 31 -November 1, so depending on a lot of things, that may be a possibility. The cool weather, late in the season timing (less people, probably), location (Wolfe's Pond Park) all tempt me.. having it on Halloween weekend does bother me somewhat. Halloween is one of our do-not-walk days.

My birthday's Thursday. All I want is a happy dog. All I want is to go back to April, when we were at our personal peak, passing the CGC with flying colors. If I only knew then the things I know now.


Sue July 21, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

I hear your frustration. It is very hard to live with a frightened dog. I had to give up on walking Monty. He couldn't handle things like garage doors opening in the block we were on or a flag waving in the breeze. I finally realized that he wasn't going to change and it was too stressful for him to deal with the big scary world. He stayed home and played in his own yard. Not what I wanted for him, but it worked.

Rachel July 22, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

Wow, in our town fireworks are illegal after the 5th of July. Sophie is finally calming down enough after the 4th to go outside without prompting.

Astrid Keel July 22, 2009 at 6:53 PM  

Oh my. I'm so sorry to hear about the worsening of Marge's condition. I don't know what to say except to ask whether your home environment is very quiet... Would it help to leave a radio or tv on all day to accustom her to various noises? Just a thought.

I am so sorry you're going through this - fear is such a difficult thing to address, especially if it's not caused by an underlying medical condition.

Prayers for you.

  © Blogger template 'Isolation' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP